New Government guidance says people with diabetes can now check their glucose (blood sugar) levels using flash glucose monitoring and continuous glucose monitoring as an alternative to finger-prick testing while driving cars and motorcycles.

A continuous glucose monitor is a small device worn just under the skin. It measures glucose (sugar) levels continuously throughout the day and night and lets the user see trends in levels – alerting them to highs and lows.

A flash glucose monitor is a small sensor worn on the skin. Called Flash for short, it records glucose levels continuously throughout the day and results can be accessed by scanning the sensor at any time.

People with diabetes driving cars and motorcycles had to monitor their blood sugar levels during driving because having ‘hypos’ – episodes of hypoglycaemia caused by low blood sugar – can impair the ability to drive safely. A severe hypo means the assistance of another person is needed.

Nikki Joule, Policy Manager at Diabetes UK, said: “Diabetes UK has been campaigning for the use of these technologies which make people’s lives easier and improve their ability to monitor their blood glucose levels day-to-day, including while driving.”

It is important to point out that these new guidelines on glucose testing apply only to car and motorcycle drivers who treat their diabetes with insulin. The requirements for glucose testing for bus and lorry drivers remain the same (finger prick blood reading). In addition, drivers using flash or continuous glucose monitoring must still confirm their blood glucose level with a finger prick test if:

  • Their glucose level is 4.0 mmol/L or below
  • They experience symptoms of hypoglycaemia

The glucose monitoring system gives a reading that is not consistent with the symptoms they are experiencing (for example, they feel the symptoms of hypoglycaemia but the reading does not indicate this)